If I were writing a book about my life, this chapter would be called “Gravy is Stupid” (even though we don’t say that.  But it is.  Stupid.)  I rarely eat meat, but am raising at least one carnivore and sleep every night with another and they both love gravy.  Grant reminded me yesterday that he never got a I-get-to-pick-whatever-I-want-for-dinner-cause-it’s-my-birthday dinner, so I took his request: roast beast with gravy, potato casserole and strawberries and went to town.  Except I cannot make gravy.  Cannot.  Make.  Gravy. I have Allrecipes on my computer right here in the kitchen and have consulted it often, but the closest I can come is gravy flavored jello that falls out of the gravy boat in one gelatinous gloop while Peter and I look on in horror.  Tonight it was too runny even though I followed the recipe to a t.  Even with the aid of my new fat separator from a dear friend who feels my pain, but has her own issues with meat (you know who you are), I can’t do it.  But I’m taking it to the mattress because the menfolk are asking for it and I like to please, so if you have any tips, pass them along.  Until then…gravy is stupid.


Freth Eggs Here (spelling courtesy Peter)
Ego centricity aside, this is the best “s” she’s ever written.
“Wook!  It’s pewfict.”
“Seriously, dude, that’s the best orange “s” in the whole wide world.”
Our neighbor Jay-dub (nickname courtesy me since he remarked last week that all my kids have numerous nicknames and we only ever call him Jake).  He can claim ownership of our flock since the kids gave him a chick of his own, Patty (aka Kevin).
The “Sign Makah” complete with red marker scratches on his freckly cheeks from a falcon fight he and Peter had after making claws out of these crazy long q-tip things I ripped off from the ER during hour 3 of trying to keep my baby happy while being poked and prodded (but that’s another story).  

After umpteen hours of staining and painting while lugging Lucy around in her baby carrier thing, I was too tired to do anything other than throw an old chicken casserole on the table outside and tell them in a falsely cheerful voice they could stick the pieces on a skewer and cook em over the fire.  No one bought it.
Then, later, when the kids had destroyed the bathroom with toothpaste (more on that later) I dragged my sorry self up to their bedroom to find their stuffed animals thrown all over the place.  Again.   I turned into Mommy Dearest.
“I detest soft guys (we don’t say hate, but I have a thesaurus).”
“Soft guys must be the stupidest toys ever created (we don’t say that either, but I was too tired to consult my thesaurus).”
“I’m gonna throw every soft guy in this house in the trash if I have to pick them up one more time.”
Peter “Then will you buy us new ones for our birthdays?”
“Never.  I’ll never buy another soft guy again.  Ever.  (not true.  The guilt alone from last night may drive me to welsh on this).
One look at their stricken faces and I was asking forgiveness and agreeing to two chapters of Harry Potter instead of one.  

Came downstairs and found Dan in the tub, soaking his sore muscles, and watching the Tigers on his laptop.
I went looking for my happy place in the monster bed with my book and a bowl of dry Cinnamon Life (current fav dry cereal-more on this later).
I’ll post pics of the finished coop when I get my second wind.  Again.


I hate HATE what Disney has done to classic pooh.  The originals as written by A.A. Milne are among my favorite books.  They are beautifully written and have nearly nothing in common with the fat yellow bear and cutesy cartoonish characters on baby clothes and tv.  A.A. Milne dreamed up Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, using his son’s stuffed animals as models, to be bedtime stories for him and only put them to paper once his boy was grown up and Milne was wistful for him.  He lived in England, of course, where nearly all lovely things come from and the originals are dripping with goodness.  Get your hands on some now.
So tonight I snuggled in with Gussie and some classic Pooh and read this:

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.  “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
                             ~from The House At Pooh Corner

And I nearly wept thinking of the sweetness of this.  I do that.  Often, in the quiet of the night I go and lay a hand on one of my baby’s gently rising and falling back and just spend a second being sure of them.  I do this with Dan in the middle of the night when I roll over and reach out to feel his smooth shoulder, just to be sure of him.  And I do this with God.  Especially when things are crazy and I’m done, just done, and I feel so empty.  I sidle up to God, through prayer, the Bible, being still and listening.  I know he’s present.  He promises that he always is.  But sometimes I forget and then I have to find a way to sidle up.  Just to be sure.


Crazy week around here.  From moving the Kevins into their new, almost finished coop to many playdates with friends and too much sun and not enough time.  I feel like a chicken with her head cut off, and since witnessing the phenom  of headless, running chickens last winter, I can use that idiom with a fair degree of certainty that it’s what I look like.  Now Lucy has a fever of 104 and Tess cut her hair short on one side and the garbage disposal has a leak in it, so I had to put an old 9×13 under it to catch the water which smells like someone getting a perm in a brothal in the back alleys of Calcutta.  And while a sick kid doesn’t fit into my plans to start painting the barn this weekend, I think I have to chalk this one up to Jesus.  He knew I needed to slow down.   Why I have to slow down this suddenly, is a mystery, but I think I’ll just try to see this bump in the road as a gift.  What better way to pass the day than with a sick, hot baby in your arms and your eyes closed, running through your prayer list that’s been neglected and maybe, just maybe, catching your breath?  And now Tess tells me the sea (bathtub) in fake Mexico (master bathroom) is overflowing which sounds like a natural disaster I should attend to fairly quickly and since I hear Junebug mewling, I have just enough time to call in the coast guard before I get back to the day God has set before me.  And soon the boys will come home and Dan will come home and then it will feel like all is right in my world and if I’m lucky, I’ll have taken this opportunity to rest and I’ll be ready for the next curveballs that’ll be thrown.  Perhaps I’ll even have a little time to write.  You know.  About me.  Being real.


This kid turned eight today.  Eight.
Which means that eight years ago today I also was born into this wonderful, scary role of mother.  Well, before that even, but eight years ago today it became tangible.  So much so that I ache a little thinking of how quickly these eight years have flown by and how many amazing things he’s done that I’ve probably been too preoccupied to notice.  How many things I’ve missed by saying, “Just a sec.” or by choosing laundry or one last swipe of the countertop over flopping down on the floor with him and engaging.  I’m going to do better.  Meanwhile, here are some things I haven’t missed:
His lips are curly and his eyes are twinkly.  He’s developing a great sense of humor coupled with a knack for delivering punchlines at just the right moment.  He’s always been funny.  And he used to say the most delightful things like, “O-tay” and “benumber (remember)” and “necorize (recognize)”.  When he did that I wanted to chew on his lip.  I still do.
He is tender and kind.  He always has been.  He is sensitive to the feelings of others.  He’s a thinker.  Sometimes I catch him with a faraway look in his eyes and I know there is a storm of thought brewing in his head and that if he can’t puzzle it out himself he’ll ask eventually.  
He was named after Grant, MI.  Well, not really, but we got the idea driving up to Dan’s parents in Newaygo when we were pregnant.  If you’ve ever driven through Grant, MI, you’ll understand why we may lie about the origin of his name.  Every one looks like they’re having a yard sale.  No one is.  And the billboard you pass on your way out is the cherry on top: Credit Stink? Then check out  It’s an actual website.  I googled it.
We took him on a lunch date today, just him and Dan and me and I realized for the first time, maybe, that someday I wouldn’t be the most important girl in his heart anymore.  And so I resolve to pray harder for her.  That God will protect her from harm and spend these years molding her into just the person Grant needs her to be so that he can be just the man God intends him to be.  And that I’ll be able to let him go when it’s time.  And that that day won’t come for a long time.  Because I’m holding on to him as tightly as I safely can and I’m sucking the marrow out of this gift of a kid who I adore.  So much.  
“We prayed for this child and God gave us what we prayed for.  For the rest of his life we will give him back to God.”  Didn’t know really what this verse was about when we chose it for his birth announcements.  Now, eight years into it I’m starting to get it.  Sometimes a hundred times a day I have to remember that Grant was God’s before he was mine and he is God’s still.  And in true Jesus fashion, I’ve been given something I completely don’t deserve.  Not at all. 
Be still my heart.  This kid is eight.


I tried unsuccessfully to upload some video I shot of the Kevins as we found them this afternoon upon returning from the zoo.  Words can’t really do it justice.  We’d recognized for a couple days that they were quickly outgrowing their brooding box and needed to move to the garage to a larger one, however, today clinched the deal.  We opened our door to find ten Kevins running around the back hall (which was mercifully shut off from the rest of the house), with crap all over the place.  All over.  Three Kevins were missing but were eventually located in and behind the recycling bin.  And although Chickens: The Essential Poultry Publication swayed me into thinking escape was unlikely, it indeed is.  So, an hour later, after having to scrape chick poo off the floor with my cooktop scraper and then scrub the floor with a scour pad and lysol, we have the cleanest, chick free back hall.  And the Kevins?  They’re out in the garage in time out, taking some time to think about what they did.  We’re having chicken nuggets for dinner tomorrow.  Little ones.


We celebrated Easter at church tonight and, while a Saturday evening Easter Sunday is unusual, it was nice.  Really nice.  And I’ve just received my replacement copy of The Vision and the Vow by Pete Greig from Amazon (and to continue the shameless plug, you can order it from Amazon below) which is a book you really need to get your hands on because it is truth and it is transformational.   In it he quotes Habakkuk, which says:
“Write this.  Write what you see..
Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way.
It will come on time.
Look at that man, bloated by self-importance-full of himself but soul-empty.
But the person standing before God through loyal and steading believing
is fully alive, really alive.”
Habakkuk 2:2-4 (msg)
And I’ve been convicted that the rest of my life needs to be a billboard for Jesus in which he’s written out in big block letters that are so big they can be read on the run by all the millions of people who are running…from addiction, from shame, from death, from, from…  And in order to do this I need to stop running myself from all the sins that are right on my heels.  Because the vision is Jesus on the cross, suffering for me.  Dying for me.  Even though I don’t deserve it even sort of.  And I can never be worthy of that, but I can write and talk and I can wait with all of creation who groan in anticipation of his coming again and so do I.  The only way to speed it up is to be a part of the message, telling people that this story is so good.  So good.  Even though it has scary parts and ugly acts and lots of people who die or are punished, even though there is a bad guy who fights really hard, even though the climax sees Jesus nailed to a tree.
Our lesson tonight at church began with these words, “The message of Easter is that Jesus wins.”
That’s the message that needs to be written in big block letters in this place where there is so much darkness that it’s easy to forget that Jesus wins.  Jesus wins.


Only a Nana can get away with bringing over those horrible bakery cupcakes with the little forky decoration things stuck in them and that have about 97 grams of sugar per ounce and lots of dyes.  And a Nana can do this quite nicely if she is celebrating the sun with her grandbabies, all 13 of them, who are covered in frosting and mud from the creek and chick feathers and all sorts of other wonderful summer like things.  Nanas are totally entitled.

The only caveat is that I get to lick the frosting off the baby’s face.

No, seriously.  I do.  It’s a mama’s prerogative.  It’s in the bylaws.

Hold still.  Mama’s gonna get her some sugar.

You need me to suck it off your fat fingers too?  O.K.  I’m in.

Nope, you don’t get to do it yourself.  Nice try.

Tomorrow I’m rolling her in chocolate, then going at her with a jar of peanut butter and a spatula.


I’ve just received an email from my sister in Norway who I posted about a couple days ago.  She is not pregnant.  Can I ask you for prayers again for her and her husband as they are heart broken and must now lay to rest their dream of having biological children?  I was just searching Psalms for understanding and came across this in Psalm 30 that is what I’m going to be praying for her.  Will you join me, please?
To you, O Lord, she called;
to the Lord she cried for mercy:
What gain is there in her destruction,
in her going down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear O Lord, and be merciful to her;
O Lord, be her help.
(Would you please) turn her wailing into dancing;
(would you) remove her sackcloth and clothe her with joy,
that her heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord her God, she will give you thanks forever.

I have a friend (you know who you are) who cried out to the Lord for a baby and He literally delivered one to her doorstep.  It’s what I’m praying for Veti and Ole-Kristian.  That God would miraculously deliver a baby to their doorstep.  Or find some other way to grow them a family.  And we will.  WILL.  Give Him thanks forever.